Student Profile: Gita Mallya

Gita Mallya

Student standing:  
Graduate student (MS Viticulture and Enology) 
Degree/Focus/interest areas:  
For my master's thesis I’m working in the Montpetit and Runnebaum lab groups looking at whether redox can determine fermentation outcome based on juice conditions and yeast strain! 
Where are you from originally?  
Walnut Creek, California 
What brought you to UC Davis?  
I did my undergraduate degree at UC Davis in Plant Biology and after taking VEN 101B with Dr. Walker as an elective I decided that I wanted to continue my V&E education in the master’s program, so I applied! V& E seemed to encompass all the subjects that I was interested in, and I was very interested in trying to apply science in a creative way like you do in winemaking.  
What do you enjoy the most about studying in this program?  

I love the sense of community that this program fosters. I know I’ve made life-long friends with peers, and it’s great being able to really get to know the faculty and staff on a better level. There’s a lot of support in the department and everyone is rooting for you to succeed. 
Have you interned at a winery/vineyard management company?  If so, tell us about your experience. 
I was a harvest intern at Schramsberg Vineyards in 2019. It was a great experience where I got to learn more about sparkling production and get my yeast rehydration technique down! I enjoyed my time there and the entire team helped broaden my practical knowledge for winemaking, with lots of new experiences and getting to dip my feet in everything going on there. I also previously worked at an urban winery in Sacramento called Revolution, and it was interesting to see the pros and cons of being located directly in the city! 
What are your plans after you graduate?  
I’m planning on joining the team at DuMOL in Windsor, CA, as a harvest intern this summer! I hope to go abroad afterward for another harvest once this one is completed.  
How has the pandemic affected you as a student? 

The pandemic definitely slowed things in the lab with research, with scheduling, space, and training limitations. Luckily, I’ve been able to go in quite a bit and produce data, but the restrictions definitely made it tricky at first. Zoom classes are also tiring, as we are all aware by now, but I feel lucky to have great peers and faculty who try to keep it engaging in creative ways.  
What is one unique thing about you? 
I love to do art in my free time. You can find me at the pottery studio or painting at home when I have some free time. I like trying new forms, so I’ve done things like glass blowing and fusing, pottery, jewelry making, drawing, you name it! 
What is Women in Wine doing right now and how is the organization adapting to the pandemic? 
Since Women in Wine was created during the pandemic, we’ve really been trying to make our meetings enticing enough to get people to want to spend an extra hour on Zoom! We love getting the department engaged and interested in what’s going on with our organization. So far, we’ve had a lot of great meetings with wonderful guests sharing their knowledge on a variety of aspects of the industry, from job specifics and starting brands, to what it’s like having to balance a family during harvest. We’re planning to do some more socially distanced workouts, a co-hosted meeting with ASEV, a virtual tasting, and hopefully more in the near future!